I am a fool.  I should have listened to Father.  I see this now. 
I never should have allowed myself to care at all for Balin.  And
obviously I did, for this wouldn't hurt so, otherwise.  Never let yourself
care for anyone, and no one can touch you.  Wise words.  If only I had
heeded them.  Well Balin, or Kaedric, or whatever his name is, can go rot
in the Abyss, and the rest of them can go with him.  Maron and I could
have been killed trying to stop Delwin and Father, and Archimedes tries to
skewer Maron as a reward.  What a fool.  I understand his grievance with
Maron, but such petty concerns must be placed aside in the face of a
greater threat, *especially* if you are king.  And if he was truly
concerned about his wife, if he honestly believed that I brought Maron to
Amber to harm her, then he was an idiot to leave her alone in Amber with
me.  Maron and I could have easily taken her, if that was our goal.  He
should have known that was not my intent.  I am the one who convinced
Dworkin to rescue her when Maron last had her.  And I swore that oath to
him.  If he does not believe I will abide by it, then my swearing of it
was pointless, wasn't it?

	Perhaps it was for the best that I brought Maron through.  Who
knows how long I would have gone on believing Kaedric's lies, otherwise? 
And lies they most certainly are.  He expects me to believe that he had to
sleep with me to know that I was not Abigail?  Nonsense.  I have Pattern. 
I can draw Trump.  These are not things that Shadows can do.  All he had
to do was ask me to show him how Shadow shifting worked.  He made no
attempt to do so.  Perhaps he simply wished to do to me what Abigail did
to him, since he could not gain vengeance against her directly.  Whatever
his reasons, the result is that I am free of all that binds me to Amber. 
I will return there for Father's funeral, if there is one, but then it is
time to take my leave of that place.  Intellex and Eddie should prove
sufficient to lose myself in, for now.  And my fountain.  I may be denied
everything else I have worked for, but I will have that.  Amber can be
destroyed, for all I care.  My mistake lay in trying to help them.  I
shall not make that mistake again.

	So, there are Shadows of all three of us.  Interesting.  Bertram
is essentially dead.  Gregory is out of the picture, for the moment.  But
Abigail, curse her little soul, remains unfound.  I now know more about
her than I really cared to.  Our lives have many parallels.  Except she
was taken in by Sand when she was eight, which doesn't even come close to
Father taking me away at that age.  Delwin seems to have believed in
similar parenting methods as Father, given what Bertram remembered of
Kaedric.  I see much of myself in him.  We settled nothing between us, of
course.  I pointed out that he, in essence, did to me what Abigail did to
him, and he did not like that at all.  The truth hurts, it would seem. 
Well.  I think that is enough unpleasant reminders of Amber, for now. 
There are more important things for me to think about.

	Eddie was unable to locate Abigail.  I suppose I should not be
surprised.  I do not know what sort of powers Father gave her, but it
seems to be more than he should have.  Rest assured, though, I will find
her.  It is only a matter of time.

	Eddie's theories on the Patterns are fascinating.  Alek seems to
think the solution is for him to bleed on the Primal Pattern, and then
have Archimedes redraw it.  Of course, redrawing the Pattern will probably
kill Archimedes, given that Oberon could not survive it.  I would love to
be watching when Alek tries to convince Archimedes to do this.

	Alek actually thinks I need therapy.  This from the man who I had
to intercede for with Archimedes on at least two separate occasions.  Not
to mention the countless times I have had to help him deal with some
problem or other.  Like when Father appeared in his apartment.  Or after
Father died. He does not think I have dealt with Father's death, simply
because I did not follow in his manic/depressive ways, and I do not have a
"boyfriend." Well, I have dealt with it, as much as one can, given the
circumstances. I have mourned the loss of the man who raised me, and I
pray that what is still trapped in the Taormin never gets free.  Just
because I choose not to share that with anyone, does not mean there is
something wrong.  And after my experience with Kaedric, I fail to see why
I would want to be involved with someone again.

	I am glad to learn of Alek's engagement, though.  The wedding
should be interesting, now that he and Maron have reconciled.  I wonder if
Archimedes would have the poor taste to attack Maron during the ceremony? 
One would hope not, but then, Archimedes rarely seems to act with any
logic where Maron is concerned.

	It is a lovely Shadow.  I believe I will use Alek's suggestion and
call it Chantille Vale.  Ariel and Damion love it, of course.  Now I have
more than enough room for their companions, and, best of all, no one can
bother me there.  Intellex had that advantage as well, but it is Alek's
home, not mine.  All that remains is the establishment of the Font.  I am
looking forward to it.  If half of what Alek told me is true, becoming a
living Trump should be a very interesting experience indeed.  Maybe it
will even help me to make sense of what he said.  If anything can.

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